b. November 29, 1764
d. September 3, 1843
Anglican Bishop of Clogher in the Church of Ireland from 1820 to 1822, who was forced from his position after two scandals involving sexual indiscretions with men.
In the first, two years after his appointment as bishop of Ferns, he was accused by his brother’s coachman,James Byrne, of‘taking indecent familiarities’ with him (possibly buggery) and of ‘using indecent or obscene conversations with him’. The bishop survived this accusation, instead suing the coachman for libel. On conviction, Byrne was sentenced to two years in jail and also to public flogging. Recanting his allegations at the prompting of the bishop’s agent, the floggings were stopped.
The second occasion was more serious and ended his career, when in 1822 he was caught in a compromising position with a Grenadier Guardsman, John Moverley, in the back room of a London public house.
Jocelyn was the most senior British churchman to be involved in a public homosexual scandal in the 19th century. It became a subject of satire and popular ribaldry, resulting in more than a dozen illustrated satirical cartoons, pamphlets, and limericks, such as:
The Devil to prove the Church was a farce
Went out to fish for a Bugger.
He baited his hook with a Soldier’s arse
And pulled up the Bishop of Clogher.
For 178 years afterwards the Church of Ireland refused to let historians see their papers on the affair. In the 1920s Archbishop D’Arcy of Armagh actually ordered that they be burnt. This command was not obeyed, and the files were finally released for Matthew Parris’s research for his book The Great Unfrocked.